Laying liberal deep in the heart of Texas is the quirky city of Austin. Sure, it maintains some of its Texas charms with joints like Franklin Barbecue and the occasional honky tonk bar, but really, Austin is just about as different as a next-door neighbor can be. Headed to Austin? Offbeat experiences and fun things to do in Austin aren’t so hard to discover, and with just a few days to spare, you can join the movement to keep Austin weird.
In the interest of making you like it as much as we did, we curated a list of the 51 weirdest and most fun things to do in Austin today. If you’re a novelty seeker, you can’t help but revel in all the city has to offer. The local scene rivals that of any major US city with the space to spread out and a hint of Southern charm that the others lack. Austin uplifts creativity and local businesses flourish with limited competition from national franchises (whatever, Whataburger can stay). And really, you’ll just dig how Austin has committed to all things weird because if you’re going to be different, you might as well make a statement about it. Between the Cathedral of Junk, the Museum of Weird, and the Sfanthor House of Wax, it’s a surprise this whole damn list didn’t turn into novelty museums.
Ready, set, go.
51 unique + fun things to do in Austin
Very Austin Experiences
1. Browse the castaway collection at the Cathedral of Junk or Uncommon Objects
2. Grab some spray paint and leave your mark at the HOPE Outdoor Gallery
3. Escape the heat to 68-degree waters at Barton Springs pool
4. Take a tour of the Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery
5. Head to Hamilton’s Pool, Austin’s iconic swimming grotto
6. Picnic under the shadiest tree you can find at Zilker Park
7. Strip down at the clothing-optional Hippie Hollow Park
8. Experience one of the most iconic, fun things to do in Austin – a University of Texas football game! Hook ’em horns!
9. Catch a film at the Alamo Drafthouse Tip: Weird Wednesday at The Ritz location boasts movies too outrageous for prime time. Sign us up!
10. Take a sunrise jog around Lady Bird Lake
11. Go bat spotting at Congress Avenue Bridge Tip: Avoid the Congress Avenue Crowds and go bat spotting at the I-35 and McNeil Rd bridge
12. Brush up on your Texas history at the Bullock Texas State History Museum
13. Catch a live show at the legendary Hole in the Wall
14. Check out the sunset from Mount Bonnell
15. Go camping at Lake Travis
16. Take down a taco or two at Torchy’s
17. Dirty up your hands with some beef ribs from La Barbecue
18. Dough or doughnut on a decadent doughnut from Gourdough’s
19. Experiment with Austin’s abundant variety of breakfast tacos
20. Order up a dozen drummettes at Tommy Want Wingy
21. Spoon as much Blue Bell Ice Cream as your belly can handle
22. Eat at a food truck (any food truck) because practically everyone is doing it
23. Grab a cup at Jo’s Coffee, home of the “I love you so much” mural
24. Celebrate Christmas year around at Lala’s
25. Throw back a pickle shot at Kung Fu
26. Sip an only in Texas craft beer
27. Get serious about karaoke at The Highball
28. Stack into Container Bar – an industrial bar made entirely from shipyard containers
29. Make a reservation at the massage-parlor-turned-speakeasy, Midnight Cowboy
30. Head out for the night on 6th Street, lovingly named “Dirty Sixth”
Events + Festivals in Austin
31. Head grumpy to Pease Park for Eeyore’s Birthday Party
32. Stuff your face at the Austin Ice Cream Festival
33. Free your mind at South by Southwest (SXSW)
34. Fly your favorite kite at the Zilker Kite Festival
35. Get down at Austin City Limits Music Festival
36. No money? No problem! Head to Free Week in Austin for a local version of SXSW
37. Run the Keep Austin Weird 5K
Keeping Austin Weird
38. Get lost in the sufficiently strange Museum of Weird or Sfanthor House of Wax
39. Pedal into gear at the Austin Bike Zoo
40. Who says sleeping shouldn’t be a fun thing to do? Stay in accommodation as weird as the city itself.
41. BYOB to a strange round of putt-putt at Peter Pan Mini-Golf
42. Head to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon for a round of Chicken Shit Bingo (this is real)
43. Come in and sin at the divey, kitschy Mean Eyed Cat Bar
44. Join the circus at Carousel Lounge
45. Experience an adult puppet show at Trouble Puppet
Austin + Beyond
46. Drive 400 miles West to the very quirky desert town of Marfa
47. Venture to the Hill Country
48. Float the Guadalupe River with a beer in hand
49. Snap a photo at the “You’re my Butter Half” or the “Austin” mural
50. Drive 85 miles per hour on a Texas highway, and don’t even worry about a speeding ticket
51. Live it up, and find out, once and for all, whether everything is bigger in Texas
Unique Places to Stay in Austin
Looking to stay strange? Check out these quirky accommodations in Austin:
Drifter Jacks Hostel | Good hostels are hard to come by in the US, but Drifter Jacks Hostel in Austin is one of the better ones. The place is well located and decked out in floor-to-ceiling murals. For under $40 per night, you’ll have a hard time finding anything better. Dorm rooms from $34.
The Heywood Hotel | If you’re looking for somewhere to stay that is both stylish and well located, the Heywood Hotel is just the spot you’re looking for. It’s a short walk from 6th Street and a quick drive from the University of Texas, plus the rooms are cute with colorful accents and an extremely comfortable bed. Double rooms start from $400.
Airbnb | You might notice that finding cool accommodation in Austin is much easier than finding something affordable. To get the best of both worlds, spend some time on Airbnb searching for quirky homes in neighborhoods where you’d like to stay anyway. You can find everything from lofts, to airstreams, to artist bungalows in Austin, and the average nightly price is far lower than what you’d expect to stay at an Austin hotel. New to Airbnb? Get $40 off your first stay or explore other properties from $50.
Traveling in the USA? Check out our other weird city guides:
- 101 Weird + Fun Things to do in San Francisco
- 51 Unique + Fun Things to do in Portland
- 51 Weird + Fun Things to do in Birmingham